Graded weapons and armor are very simple. Rather than working spells, exactly, they work with enhancement bonuses, plus weapon, armor, and general qualities. They can be crafted or enchanted, and follow the same guidelines regarding assignment of graded abilities.
Graded Qualities for Weapons and Armor
Many weapon and armor qualities are the same as those in the PRD, with exceptions described in the details below.
Enhancement Bonuses: Weapon and armor enhancement bonuses have a grade equal to twice the the bonus value. That is, a +3 weapon enhancement bonus is a grade 6 quality. A +3 armor enhancement bonus is also a grade 6 quality.
Weapon Qualities: Weapon qualities such as keen and vorpal have a grade equal to twice the weapon quality equivalent value (grade 2 and grade 10 respectively). Some weapon qualities are expanded, with multiple grades available.
Armor Qualities: Armor qualities such as ghost touch and wild have a grade equal to twice the armor quality equivalent value (grade 6 for both). Some armor qualities are expanded, with multiple grades available.
General Qualities: There are general qualities common to many kinds of equipment, including armor and weapons. Most will be described in another post, but a few are described below.
Expanded Weapon Qualities
Most weapon qualities are binary, either present or not. In particular, bane and the alignment qualities (holy, axiomatic, etc.) are binary, you cannot have a ‘bane II‘ weapon.
Energy effects such as flaming, are more scalable. Flaming I is a grade 2 quality and adds 1d6 points of fire damage on a successful hit, flaming II is a grade 4 quality and adds 2d6 points of fire damage, flaming III is a grade 6 quality and adds 3d6 points of fire damage, flaming IV is a grade 8 quality and adds 4d6 points of fire damage, and flaming V is a grade 10 — the highest available to a non-epic crafter — quality and adds 5d6 points of fire damage.
Expanded Armor Qualities
Some armor qualities are binary, but there are more scalable qualities.
- Fortification ranges from grade 1 through grade 10, granting 10% chance per grade of negating a critical hit or sneak attack.
- Spell resistance ranges from grade 1 through grade 10, granting Spell Resistance equal to 9+grade.
- Slick and shadow qualities are now general qualities (see below) ranging from grade 1 through grade 10 and grant a +2 bonus to the relevant checks per grade.
The cost of armor enhancement bonuses and armor qualities are halved (item grade * quality grade * 250 gp, instead of item grade * quality grade * 500 gp).
General qualities can apply to many kinds of items. Some general qualities are listed below, others will be described in another post.
A skill bonus quality gives a bonus equal to twice the grade to checks made that involve the item. For instance, an intimidating weapon II grants a +4 bonus to Intimidate checks when the weapon is involved (perhaps a barbarian uses it to threaten an adjacent foe when using his intimidating glare rage power, or a rogue idly plays with his viciously hook-pointed knife while talking to a ‘potential client’). A cloak of shadows might include a camouflage IV quality granting a +8 bonus on Hide checks.
The spellcasting quality ranges from grade 1 through grade 10, and acts as a wand of that grade. A fire gauntlet might include the power of a lesser wand of military fire (flaming arrows, burning hands, flare, and light) as a grade 5 quality .
Sample Graded Items
Rime-Blade of Norskyr
This battleaxe is somehow formed of the heart-ice of a glacier. It is a crafted grade 13 weapon with a +2 enhancement, frost III, giant bane, and durable I qualities.
- (grade 6) frost III (+3d6 cold damage on a successful hit)
- (grade 4) +2 enhancement (+2 attack and damage)
- (grade 2) giant bane (+2 attack and +2d6 damage against giants)
- (grade 1) durable I (+2 hardness and break DC)
As a crafted grade 13 item, the rime-blade of Norskyr has a market price of 84,500 gp.
(In PRD terms this might be a +2 frost III giant bane battleaxe, if frost III were a +3-equivalent weapon ability. This would be a +6 equivalent weapon worth 72,310 gp.)
Gyre’s Cunning Gambeson
This arming doublet (padded armor) is crafted grade 7 armor with cleverly-hidden pockets and places to conceal tools, and many of its arming points are well-suited for fastening climbing gear. It is made of dark green velvet and has been repeatedly soaked in moly extract. It has the magic resistance I, climbing II, hiding II, and disabling I qualities.
- (grade 2) magic resistance I: +1 resistance bonus to saves and Armor Class against spells.
- (grade 2) climbing II: +4 bonus to Climb checks when the armor can apply (stacks with the bonus gained from a climbing kit).
- (grade 2) stealthy II: +4 bonus to Stealth checks.
- (grade 1) disabling I: +2 bonus to Disable Device checks; the right tools are immediately at hand.
An a crafted grade 7 item, Gyre’s cunning gambeson would have a market price of 24,500 gp… but as armor it gets halved, so 12,250 gp.
Fire Gauntlet of Allioch
The fire gauntlet of Allioch is an enchanted grade 10 wondrous item with the spellcasting V (lesser wand of military fire), resistance I, fire resistance II, and intimidation I qualities.
- (grade 5) spellcasting V: lesser wand of military fire (5 charges)
- flame arrow (3 charges, 50 minutes)
- burning hands (1 charge, 5d4 damage, RDC 11)
- flare (0 charge reserve, FDC 10)
- light (0 charge reserve)
- (grade 2) resistance I: +1 resistance bonus to saves
- (grade 2) fire resistance II: 10 points of fire resistance
- (grade 1) intimidating I: +2 to Intimidate checks when the fire gauntlet is involved
[‘0 charge reserve’ means the ability requires no charges, but only works when there are charges remaining]
As an enchanted grade 10 item, the fire gauntlet has a market price of 50,000 gp.